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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chris Cheek / Victor Prieto: Rollo Coaster

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Chances are you have never heard the accordion played the way Victor Prieto plays it. Indeed, much like Toots Thielemans established the harmonica in the jazz lore huffing and puffing bop lines through his teeth, Prieto breaks the glass ceiling hovering above the crown of Cyrillus Demian's patented invention, squeezing improvised airs with a technical assurance that deserves more widespread recognition.Long known for catapulting the French valse musette, the Bohemian polka, the French-Canadian reels, and the festive music of the Cajuns to a world stage, the instrument's acceptance into the jazz world has come rather slowly. Sure there ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chris Cheek / Victor Prieto: Rollo Coaster

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While all musical settings present different challenges to those involved, duo recordings can often be the hardest to manage well. Repetitive textural elements, characteristic of the instruments on hand, can create a certain similarity across all tracks. Some musicians fall prey to wandering free improvisation, finding various degrees of success or failure, as they try to navigate these waters and avoid unpleasant encounters with the only other musical voice on the map. Thankfully, that is not the case with saxophonist Chris Cheek and accordion player Victor Prieto on Rollo Coaster.

Cheek and Prieto began performing together in 2006, as part ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chris Cheek / Victor Prieto: Rollo-Coaster

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An odd couple of sorts, this union between accordion and saxophone is at once curious but proves a match made in heaven with Chris Cheek and Victor Prieto's collaborative release Rollo-Coaster. With great aplomb, they cover a wide scope of music from Tango to improvisational stints and other influences. Prieto, originally from Galicia, Spain, is fast becoming one of the premier accordionists in jazz, providing mastery and flair to recordings with singers Beat Kaestli and Tessa Souter, and classical icon cellist Yo Yo Ma. His debut Persistencia (Foxhaven, 2006) unveiled his refined abilities and ground breaking techniques ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Victor Prieto: Persistencia

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On Victor Prieto's debut recording, the accomplished Spanish accordionist has chosen to approach his instrument in a new way. Aided by bassist Carlo DeRosa and drummer Allison Miller, Prieto included Egberto Gismonti's “Frevo, John Coltrane's “26-2 and Astor Piazzolla's “Libertango in a program with six original compositions. Starting with “Frevo, Prieto immediately dazzles with his fast fingering, switching from single notes to chords in rapid fashion. The group is equally at home playing the up-tempo material (like the original “Contrasts in New York ) and the ballads (like the lovely title track). On “26-2, Prieto approaches his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Victor Prieto: Persistencia

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Originally from Orense, Spain, accordionist Victor Prieto brings old-world charm and a new-fangled approach to jazz. Prieto's debut CD release, Persistencia, featuring Carlo DeRosa on acoustic bass and Allison Miller on trap drums, showcases the leader's unique approach to harmony, melody, and tone, effectively translating the accordionist's unique jazz sensibility via an unusual instrumental vehicle.

The accordion's distinctive timbre often conjures up associations with Polish polka, German folk lieder, Viennese waltzes, French musette & cabaret chansons, North American Tex-Mex, Louisiana Cajun & Zydeco, Argentinian tango, and Mexican conjunto/tejano/norteño--but jazz? This isn't accordion accordin' to Hoyle!

One of the inherent problems ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Victor Prieto: Persistencia

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Spanish-born jazz accordionist Victor Prieto is the most exciting such player to come on the scene since Eddie Monteiro. Melding Argentine and Brazilian influences with a bop sensibility, Prieto gives the lie to all of the nasty things that have been said over the years about the much-maligned squeezebox.

Backed by Rachel Z drummer Allison Miller and the extraordinarily gifted bassist Carlo DeRosa, Prieto presents a varied and virtuosic set of performances on Persistencia. The variety of tunes is quite amazing and eclectic, ranging from Egberto Gismonti to Astor Piazolla (as one would expect) and John Coltrane (as ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Victor Prieto: Persistencia

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Trios are sensitive things. They take a jump in the complexity from duos, yet can't be split into rhythm and lead instruments like quartets. To create a cohesive sound, all the members of the trio must be listening carefully to the overall balance. Each can essentially be a soloist at a different level. The trio that accordionist Victor Prieto leads on Persistencia is very finely tuned and highly responsive. Prieto plays accordion the way Toots Thielmans plays harmonica or Dino Saluzzi plays bandoneon--he transcends the instrument and just plays music. The Italian feel of this recording comes ...



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